Bring hope and healing to the world this Christmas

Last year, the ecumenical churches raised an incredible $2.1 million through the Act for Peace Christmas Bowl. Uniting Church members across the country generously contributed over $990 000 to provide food, shelter, medicine and health care to some of the world’s most vulnerable people.

The theme for this year’s Christmas Bowl is ‘When did I see you hungry? When did I see you sick? When did I see you a stranger?’

Jess Xavier spoke to Rev Stephen Larkin, minister at Nedlands Uniting Church, about what it means to take part in this much loved ecumenical tradition. The Nedlands congregation has been supporting the Christmas Bowl for over twenty years.Continue Reading

Gifts, goats and God this Christmas

“You got me a what?”

Uncle Graham is squinting at your card, breath a little yeasty from the Christmas pudding. Frankly, he’s disappointed. It was socks he wanted. Or a fishing magazine. He also had his eye on a new case for his iphone.

You got him a goat from UnitingWorld’s Everything in Common ethical gift catalogue. Worthy, but clearly not his favourite.

“Well, it’s for a family in Zimbabwe…” you tell him, a little flustered. “They’ll breed the goats and with the money they can get for them at the market, they’ll send their children to school. It’s pretty cool, actually.”

Uncle Graham looks skeptical. He doesn’t actually say it, but you can see what he’s thinking: “So you got me nothing. You got them goats, but you got me nothing.”Continue Reading

Just #BringThemHere

President of the Uniting Church in Australia, Stuart McMillan, has called on the Federal Government to take moral leadership and resolve the status of refugees on Manus Island in mainland Australia.

Hundreds of men who remained in the offshore detention centre after its closure on 31 October have been transported to new facilities by Papua New Guinean authorities. Their removal follows a tense stand-off in which the men initially refused to leave.

“Haven’t these people suffered enough? After all this time, is it still impossible for the Federal Government to show some compassion and bring them here?” said Stuart.Continue Reading

Australian churches stand in unity for refugees in PNG

The National Council of Churches in Australia, Act for Peace and the Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce stand together to bear witness to the suffering that Australia’s bipartisan refugee policy in regard to offshore processing, has caused.

They mourn the loss of justice for those refugees in Papua New Guinea (PNG) who are willing to put their own bodies in danger as the last cry of despair in the search for a safe future and pray for Australian Government leadership who may not have envisaged such suffering in re-enacting offshore processing, but who now cannot shy from the reality of the damage that has been done.

They are standing with the Manus Island and PNG people who are facing the presumption that they are not a safe and hospitable nation and cannot be trusted to host these vulnerable men and plead that if the men are to remain in PNG for now, that force is not used to relocate them and that the Australian Government contributes to securing their dignity and safety. Continue Reading

The presence of God while in the hands of police

I was one of a number of church leaders who entered the Ellenbrook office of Hon Christian Porter MP on Monday. We went to ask Mr Porter and the Federal Government to bring to Australia all people imprisoned in offshore processing centres. We took this action in solidarity with the more than 400 men on Manus Island who are refusing to leave the ‘closed’ processing centre.

We went there in love, because we believe that Love Makes A Way.

The men imprisoned on Manus are engaging in nonviolent resistance, and demanding the rights and freedoms afforded to them by the Refugee Convention. As part of the Love Makes A Way movement, we hold a strong commitment to nonviolence and are seeking a response of compassion and justice from the government.

We went in love.Continue Reading

Archives: volunteering in the church

This year the Uniting Church in Australia celebrates its 40th anniversary. Throughout 2017, Revive will feature significant events for the life of the church during that time.

While not specifically an event, this edition we wanted to celebrate the huge number of faithful volunteers who serve in the Uniting Church. From working with community services to providing church administration; pastoral care to leading worship – Uniting Church volunteers are doing amazing work all over the country.Continue Reading

Understanding data to find new pathways

The National Church Life Survey (NCLS) and Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Census data provide a wealth of information to the community, which churches can use to help guide them in strategic decisions.

Rev David Kriel, Mission Planner for the Uniting Church WA, and Rev Dr Elizabeth Raine, a past member of the NCLS Board of Governors and the NCLS Research Committee, will lead two  workshops in October: Understanding your congregation using NCLS data and Understanding your community using Census data.

Elizabeth said that NCLS data is a great tool for congregations  to understand their gifts and how to use them to connect with their local community. Not only can NCLS provide congregation profiles, but they can also provide information that is specific to the community around them. Continue Reading